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The Lickerish Quartet – Threesome, Vol. 1



Rejoice, Jellyfish fans! Well, sort of.

When I think of Jellyfish, I think of the Bellybutton lineup, even though I think they excelled even further with their brand of power pop with their next album, Spilt Milk. But, I think of Jellyfish as Andy Sturmer, Roger Joseph Manning, Jr., Jason Faulkner, and Chris Manning. The Lickerish Quartet is a reunion of part of the Spilt Milk lineup. Manning Jr. and bassist Tim Smith join forces once again with guitarist Eric Dover, who was brought in for the Spilt Milk tour. But here’s the deal…. Roger Joseph Manning, Jr. is an absolute genius. His songwriting style and flair was a huge portion of the Jellyfish sound. Manning, Jr. is a master of gorgeous musical composition. His talent came to light on the Jellyfish records, but it has continued through everything he has done since that time. This four-song EP is no different.

Andy Sturmer brought a lot to the Jellyfish sound, and if anything was missing from Manning, Jr.’s work after Jellyfish it may be Sturmer’s quirky lyrical style. Sturmer was a master of innuendo and metaphoric cleverness. This release sees the return of some of that spark. The first track here is called “Fadoodle,” and it does have the silliness that the title might suggest. The composition is a typical Manning masterpiece, but the clever lyrics lean heavily toward the Jellyfish style that I came to love so much. The interjection offered by the backing vocals here is something to make you giggle, but it also makes you wonder how something like this can be so silly yet eloquent at the same time. And for all you bass players out there, this is a clinic on technique and style. 



“Bluebird’s Blues” starts like 10cc’s “I’m Not In Love,” but quickly changes to be a McCartney-esque acoustic beauty. Again, the big beautiful harmonies, the small effects, the tambourine – they are all arranged so sweetly that I feel like I should hang this on my wall like a piece of fine art. This is what fans of Jellyfish and Roger Joseph Manning, Jr. are simply dying to hear.

“There Is A Magic Number” is much like “Bluebird’s Blues” in its acoustic approach with big, beautiful harmonies, but it’s a bit moodier. This one trades the pop sing-along feel for more of a dreamscape with some string-like keyboards and ocean sounds. Of course, it is yet another beautifully constructed arrangement.

“Lighthouse Spaceship” is the most “electric” of these four songs, by far. It has a huge sound, reminiscent of something like “Joining A Fan Club” or “Ghost At Number One” from the Spilt Milk album. Although the meat and majority of the song has big, loud harmonies and a guitar rock feel, the song does reach a floaty “outer space” feel after the initial blast off. I’m sure this arrangement was meant to have that multi-dimensional feel to it. Composition and arrangement is just something to behold. Nobody does it better.

Is this Spilt Milk or Bellybutton? No, but it is pure genius. If you were a Jellyfish fan and you’ve been longing for something with the same kind of vibe, The Lickerish Quartet should tickle your fancy and have you longing for a Vol. 2.




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